Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) seems to be a huge buzzword at the moment. Everyone is talking about it from seasoned professional web developers to hobby bloggers.
With such an overwhelming amount of content now available with the click of a button, more and more people are looking into the more technical ways of optimising their websites to help get their content noticed. We all know how disappointing it is to put all of our ideas and efforts into creating the most useful and interesting content, spend ages on social media trying to make it more accessible to our readers, only to watch it fall off the face of the earth. This is particularly disheartening when it comes to search engines. Google is dominated by the biggest websites out there, making it very difficult to compete.
There are a few things you can do to help Google recognise you as a ‘legitimate’ source to recommend for certain search results and keywords. Over time, these easy to implement tricks should help your site start to reach the first few pages of a google search for your chosen topic, hopefully ending up with some front page hits, as you add more content and layer them up over time.
1. Key Word Research
Do your keyword research! Find keywords people are searching for using tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, but don’t use ones with huge amounts of competition. If your website is about organic gecko food for example (no idea where I got that from) then don’t use the keyword ‘food’ or ‘gecko’. This is because you will not show up unless every googling human took a fancy to gecko food and started buying from your site. Use longer keyword phrases. Such as ‘organic gecko food’ or ‘pesticide-free reptile food’ etc. It’s essentially finding a compromise between heavily googled keywords with competition from well-established brands, and lengthy and specific phrases, that few people will ever search for. So somewhere in the middle should be good.
2. Submit your site to google.
It might sound silly but as a developer/website owner. The easiest thing to do when you launch a new site is physically submitting the URL to Google’s index. This sounds incredibly obvious, but we spend so much time on all these complicated and nuanced things to do with SEO, that often the most basic steps can be forgotten. This is best for if somebody directly googles your page (e.g louminous.com). Google will know it is a legitimate site as it has already been submitted by a ‘human’. This won’t necessarily help you rank higher, but it will mean Google should be indexing your site daily, which means your new content or any changes are being picked up correctly and factored into your ranking.
3. Use subheadings
On a typical website page, there is only one h1 heading. H1 is the page title header, therefore often the most important text on the page. Typically on sites like WordPress, your h1 would be used for your post title. This is great, as most people simply type this into the ‘title’ box, write their post and move on with their lives. You will probably have noticed though, that there is the option to use subheadings (h2, h3, h4 etc).
These headings are a way of splitting up the text into more digestible chunks. In terms of SEO, they are useful in 2 ways. Header tags have higher importance than normal body copy. This means that a keyword or keyword phrase within a subheading would carry much more weight than if it was just placed in the body copy. The second reason is that it makes your content much more readable. When large blocks of text are split into manageable sections, the google crawlers like this. It will generally mean that the content has been written well and will be easier and more useful to the reader. The whole point of Google is to be able to search for useful and relevant content. Moral of the story? Split up the text, use smaller paragraphs and add relevant subheadings.
4. Internal links(deep linking)
A deep link is a link to a specific page on a website that isn’t your homepage. So ‘www.louminous.com’ is not a deep link, whereas ‘www.louminous.co.uk/learn-12-new-things/’ is. This is because it directs you to a single blog post.
Whenever you write content or a new page on a website, make sure you are linking any relevant pages or blog posts on the same site. So if I am writing about learning to code then I will link all the other articles that I have written about that subject (speaking of which, you can find those here)! When I post about specific pages or posts on my site on different platforms, I also use a specific link. I don’t just direct to the homepage. This linking to multiple pages on your site both on the site itself and from external platforms increases the overall authority of your site and not just the homepage. We are essentially creating one big web of information for Google’s indexing to ensure it doesn’t miss any important content.
5. Links from other websites
This is easiest to do yourself with social media. Even if you are not hugely active on some platforms. Make sure you have a link to your site (if appropriate) on any of your social media or other online profiles (a deep link is best – maybe to your most popular or relevant article). This helps to legitimize your site, due to the different sources of traffic.
Another great way to get external links is by doing guest posts for others where they will link back to your website. Anywhere you can link or get others to link from external websites back to yours will help to boost not only your traffic but your SEO ranking. Just make sure you keep it all above board. E.g. don’t harass people into linking to you. Make friends, interact and help others out too. It is social media after all.
6. Use your alt attributes for your images
I feel like this one is either blindingly obvious, or you have literally never heard of it. I very much used to be the latter, but now there is no way I would leave this out. Unless I forget so don’t check up on me! Alternative attributes are essentially the text that shows up when your image does not display. This not only makes your site more accessible to things such as screen readers, which will boost your SEO ‘points’ so to speak and is just a courteous thing to do, it is also another great way to get some more keywords in.
Alt attributes can be added directly into your code, using the <img> ‘alt’ attribute, or you can add them in as you are adding content to your site via WordPress/other content management systems. There is an option to add alt text to your images when you upload them. Long story short – use it!